Image: Conroe Independent School District seeks to have voters cover their eyes and vote blindly for an $807 million bond package when the school district’s actual “needs” are about a half a BILLION dollars less than the administration’s and the ambitious politicians’ want.
Conroe, February 24 – The Conroe Independent School District (“CISD”) is all about image, while the school district hides its hard pro-bureaucratic growth substance behind carefully-written euphemisms. CISD’s “summary” posted on its website of the January 15, 2019, Board of Trustees meeting where the Board voted to put an $807 million bond package to CISD voters on May 4, 2019, exemplifies how willing and eager CISD is to hide facts while trying to deceive with propaganda.
Here’s CISD’s sparklingly sterilized version of the entire discussion of the Board of Trustees surrounding the $807 million bond package when they approved the May 4 voter referendum:
The CISD apparently can never present the facts. Instead, they feel compelled to present propaganda in the Orwellian world in which the school district exists.
Here’s what really happened, if one watches the video.
On January 15, 2019, Superintendent Curtis Null told the Board of Trustees that he wanted them to approve an $807 million bond package to put to the voters on May 4, 2019. Null told the Board the bond would result in a three cent tax increase (which, of course, would be substantially higher than a mere three cents per $100 valuation, since CISD has pushed the Montgomery Central Appraisal District to increase property tax valuations as aggressively as possible through the controlling-MCAD Board members CISD elects every two years).
Ultra-liberal Board members Scott Kidd and John Husbands moved and seconded what Null told the Board to do. Husbands then parrotted what Null had just told the Board. Husbands then mentioned how California is an example CISD should consider with respect to financial management practices.
Conservative Board member Dale Inman moved to substitute “growth and safety issues versus the entire bond issue.” At first Liberal Skeeter Hubert indicated he would second Inman’s motion “just so we can discuss it,” but within less than a minute, Hubert didn’t second the motion, so the motion died for lack of a second. (During the minute, Board President Datren Williams, who has difficulty following parliamentary procedure, tried to understand what Inman proposed to do with respect to the bond. Williams eventually assured the Board, “I’m going to get it right; don’t worry.”)
Williams, the Board President, reminded the Board that his wife works for the District and that he has three children who attend the District. Williams then turned to the audience of administrators and told them, “I’d like just to say in the most simplistic fashion, as Mr. Sanders said…you guys have done a phenomenal job here in the District, Curtis, I know you and the staff work hard and I think people move here in this District because of what you offer. You offer an exemplarary education…I love how my house has appraised for almost double the amount over the last 17 years. That’s a great thing…I think the community at large appreciates that.”
“You offer an exemplarary education…” – CISD Board President Datren Williams, who is married to a CISD teacher and has three children in the school district, speaking to the Board of Trustees and CISD’s administrators, January 15, 2019, just before he led the Board to approve an $807 million bond package on a 6 to 0 vote with one abstention. He actually used the term “exemplarary” twice in the period of under two minutes.
Hubert said, “I vouch for the school board members that they have gone through this as well…All of the things that are in this bond belong there. They have the students’ best interest at heart throughout…It’s not easy to ask the community to pay for this, $807 million, and also put a tax burden to help pay for that.”
The Board voted 6 to 0 in favor of putting the $807 million bond to the voters on May 4, 2019. Inman abstained.
Inman was able to provide a copy of his amendment to the Board but never had any opportunity to discuss it.
Inman has made clear that his amendment to the Board consisted of the CISD’s “needs” as opposed to the school district bureaucracy’s “wants.” Therefore, it’s important to see what Inman revealed were those “needs” and the massive financial waste this $807 million bond package represents.
The following chart is Trustee Inman’s proposed amendment to the CISD bond which w0uld only include “needs” and not unnecessary or illegal expenditures:
Inman’s proposed substitute package of “needs” rather than the CISD bureaucracy’s “wants” was $502,994,585 less than the proposed bond package the hard-left leaning CISD bureaucracy and politicians have actually proposed. Inman’s proposed substitute bond was half a billion dollars less!!!
Inman’s proposed substitute bond was half a billion dollars less!!!
As Inman made clear, his proposal for the bond included the growth portions of the bloated $807 million bond. What Inman’s wiser and more restrained proposal didn’t include were:
- More than $131 million of maintenance expenditures, which are in the proposed $807 million bond illegally;
- The CISD bureaucracy’s transportation wish list which will age out long before taxpayers would ever finish paying for the proposed 25-year bond;
- $39 million of “contingency,”;
- $20 million of unrestricted “land purchase”;
- $36 million of “technology” will lose its useful life long before the end of the 25-year bond’s amortization;
- The extremely unpopular proposal radically to alter the campus and appearance of historic Conroe High School;
- A questionable “overhaul” of Creighton Elementary School’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems;
- More than $23 million for turf;
- Unnecessary renovations;
- A wasteful Teaching Training Facility, which would cost taxpayers more than $17 million, when facilities are already more than adequate for the same purpose across the District; and
- Questionable agricultural facilities and vocational facilities which are more appropriate for a junior college or technical school.
It’s always critical to note that the CISD’s administration, Facilities Planning Committee, and Board of Trustees have never evaluated any metrics to assess whether the entire $807 million bond proposal would provide any improvements to educational outcomes, as the CISD has admitted in writing.
Clearly, a half a billion dollars of waste is a lot of money.
Clearly, a half a billion dollars of waste is a lot of money.
The bond package which the Board should have submitted to voters on May 4 was Inman’s. Nevertheless, neither the Facilities Planning Committee nor the Board of Trustees engaged in any analytical approach. Instead, they engaged in “groupthink” to accept the CISD administrative bureaucracy’s wish list, much to the detriment of the children, parents, and teachers.
Nevertheless, neither the Facilities Planning Committee nor the Board of Trustees engaged in any analytical approach. Instead, they engaged in “groupthink” to accept the CISD administrative bureaucracy’s wish list, much to the detriment of the children, parents, and teachers.
CISD’s Superintendent never answered the critical questions regarding educational outcomes:
CRITICAL QUESTION NUMBER ONE: WHAT ARE THE METRICS TO SUPPORT THIS $807 MILLION BOND PACKAGE IN QUANTITATIVE TERMS OF IMPROVED 4TH-GRADE READING COMPREHENSION PROFICIENCY, IMPROVED 8TH-GRADE MATHEMATICS ABILITY, IMPROVED HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES, AND IMPROVED POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION PARTICIPATION RATES? (Source of Question: The Golden Hammer).
CRITICAL QUESTION NUMBER TWO: “THERE’S A PROBLEM IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS WHERE CHILDREN DON’T LEARN TO READ AND THEY SHOW UP EVENTUALLY AT LONE STAR COLLEGE AND REQUIRE REMEDIAL READING COURSES AFTER GRADUATING FROM CISD. THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT. WHAT WILL THIS BOND DO TO FIX THAT PROBLEM?” (Source of Question: Gail Schure).